Julie Brown of the Miami Herald conceived, reported, and wrote one of the most explosive criminal justice stories in recent memory. She revealed the shutting down of an FBI investigation that may have been on the verge of discovering the full extent of a child-sex-trafficking operation run by politically-connected billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The prosecutor allegedly behind that decision, Alex Acosta, is now President Trump's Secretary of Labor. Acosta offered Epstein a plea deal in which Epstein pleaded guilty to recruiting underage girls for sex and spent about a year in the local lockup, with work release. The deal also proactively protected from prosecution any potential co-conspirators. Brown pored over internal emails to see exactly how Acosta and other powerful law-enforcement officials made these decisions. While in New York to receive a Polk Award for her work, Brown stopped by WNYC's Greene Space to talk to the host of "Here's the Thing" Alec Baldwin about her reporting.
June marks LGBTQ Pride month, and fifty years since the Stonewall riots. In the past five decades, the conversation around gay rights has moved so quickly that it can be hard to remember where it was in the very recent past.
After the 2012 death of Sally Ride, the first American woman to go to space, the world learned something new about the pioneering astronaut: she was gay, and was survived by her partner Tam O'Shaughnessy. This previously unknown detail of Ride's life was mentioned in one line at the end of a lengthy obituary in The New York Times, and the reaction from readers ranged from criticism for posthumously outing Ride to criticism for not honoring the detail enough. Bob spoke with Bill McDonald, the obituary editor at The New York Times, about the ethics and obligations of obituary writers in creating a bigger picture of the Continue reading "Coming Out Posthumously"
This week, we want to bring you a terrific new episode of Death, Sex and Money, another WNYC show that we think our listeners will appreciate. The show's host, Anna Sale, is on maternity leave, and an exciting cohort of former guests and friends of the show are hosting in her absence, talking with the people they're most curious about.
The episode this week is hosted by Al Letson. Normally he hosts the podcast Reveal, but here he’s talking with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an award-winning investigative reporter covering racial injustice for the New York Times Magazine. If you’re familiar with Nikole’s reporting (and even if you're not), we think you’ll enjoy this conversation about how her life brought her to the work she does today.
In journalism, we think our job is to “get the story.” We teach the skill of “knowing what a story is.” We call ourselves “storytellers.” We believe that through stories — or as we also like to say when feeling uppish, “narrative”— we attract and hold attention, impart facts in engaging fashion, and explain the world.
My greatest heresy to date — besides questioning paywalls as panacea — is to doubt the primacy of the story as journalistic form and to warn of the risk of valuing drama, character, and control over chaotic reality. Now I’ll dive deeper into my heretical hole and ask: What if the story as a form, by its nature, is often wrong? What if we cannot explain nearly as much as we think we can? What if our basis for understanding our world and the motives and behaviors of people in it is illusory? What would that mean
Joe Frank -- the radio producer’s radio producer, the ultimate acquired taste -- passed away a year ago this month. He was 79. For over four decades Frank hostedlate-night showsthat could float between hilarious dreams and suspenseful nightmares, between fact and fiction. And though his shows were rarely mainstream hits, cultural figures likeIra GlassofThis American Life and film director Alexander Payneconsider Frank a major influence on their own work.
Brooke discussed Joe Frank's life, style and legacy withJad Abumrad, co-host of WNYC'sRadiolab, and Mark Oppenheimer, host ofTabletmagazine'sUnorthodoxpodcast, who wrote an article in Slate titled "Joe Frank Signs Off."
Joe Frank -- the radio producer’s radio producer, the ultimate acquired taste — passed away in January 2018. He was 79. For over four decades Frank hosted late-night shows that could float between hilarious dreams and suspenseful nightmares, between fact and fiction. And though his shows were rarely mainstream hits, cultural figures like Ira Glass of This American Life and film director Alexander Payne consider Frank a major influence on their own work.
Last week, the MacArthur Foundation awarded genius grants to 25 creatives in art, literature, science and music. John Keene, a writer of poetry, fiction and cultural criticism, was one of them. He was recognized for his innovative use of language and form, and the way his work “exposes the social structures that confine, enslave, or destroy” people of color and queer people. Keene spoke to Brooke back in 2015 about his story collection, Counternarratives, which centers the voices of the marginalized in both imagined and reimagined historical moments.
President Donald Trump has had many roles in his life: Real estate scion, reality show star, Oval Office holder. But through it all, one thing has remained consistent. He tries to control what information becomes public about himself and his business.
In the latest episode of Trump, Inc., a WNYC collaboration with ProPublica, our colleagues look at the ways Trump has tried to buy and enforce silence — and how it matters more than ever now that he’s president. They talk to The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow about just one of the tactics used by those helping the president: the “catch and kill.”
Four years ago this week, on July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in Staten Island at the hands of a New York City police officer. We probably wouldn't have known if it hadn't been for a cellphone video that captured his arrest, the excessive force that killed him, and his final words. The national media couldn’t look away, until they did look away.
Matt Taibbi is a journalist and author of the book, I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, an exploration of Eric Garner’s life and death in the media — and of his real life, too. Brooke spoke to him last year.
For decades, Seymour Hersh has been an icon of muckraking, investigative reporting: his work exposed such atrocities as the massacre of Vietnamese civilians in My Lai and the torture of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib. He also documented the US's development of chemical weapons in the 60s, CIA domestic spying in the 70s, wrote a highly critical piece on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2015 and did a whole lot more. Hersh speaks with Brooke about his latest book, Reporter: A Memoir, which chronicles his half century of reporting and the various obstacles he's encountered along the way.
We spoke to Hersh in 2008 about his My Lai reporting. Listen here.We spoke to Hersh in 2015 about his bin Laden reporting. Listen here.This segment is from our June 8th, 2018 program, "Perps Walk."
This week we want to introduce you to some friends of ours at WNYC. Nancy podcast is hosted by best friends Tobin Low and Kathy Tu and its about all things LGBTQ.
This week’s episode has Kathy solving a mystery on behalf of our WNYC colleague Kai Wright. As a young, black, gay man living in Washington DC around 2000, Kai saw a film called Punks. It was a movie about gay life but it wasn’t just about white people and it wasn’t rooted in tragedy. It was a romantic comedy about men like him – something he’d never seen before. But when he tried to track down the film almost 20 years later, he couldn’t find it anywhere. This episode has Kathy on the case to track down the film, and find out how a piece of media can essentially disappear.
Want to see Punks? Claim tickets Continue reading "Introducing Nancy: a podcast about all things LGBTQ"
A version of this post appeared on RJI Online.Innovation in Focus is a new video series from the Innovation & Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. With the help of journalism students, I produce the series, which explores emerging technology and methods of storytelling for newsrooms worldwide. Below is the most recent part of the series.
The team recently spent some time creating an immersive narrative story with a 360 camera. Here are the 5 key lessons we learned:
1. The viewer sees everything.
When filming in flat video we control the frame and we direct the viewer. We shape the story by presenting a detail or an establishing shot or a portrait. In 360 video, the viewer sees everything in the frame and they control how they experience it. They can look beyond the subject or into another part of the frame, which means they might miss the action you included Continue reading "5 Lessons For Creating Good Immersive Storytelling"
Recent accusations of sexual misconduct have led some to claim that the #MeToo movement has gone too far. We break down the arguments and look back at a 1994 conversation about feminism to explore where the movement might be headed next. Plus, a change to Facebook's News Feed algorithm has those in the media worried: a newspaper editor voices her frustration over what it means for the spread of information and a Serbian reporter discusses how the social network is marginalizing journalism in his country. Then, radio giant Joe Frank died this week. How his bizarre style influenced important voices you know today, including Radiolab's Jad Abumrad.
Caroline Framke [@carolineframke] of Vox examines the various arguments and conversations taking place around a report of sexually inappropriate behavior by the comedian Aziz Ansari.
The need to transition college media to a digital-first mindset has been recognized as nearly ubiquitous, yet it’s far from easy. At the University of Oklahoma, adviser Seth Prince and former enterprise editor Dana Branham knew the pivot was essential, and below, they share a conversation, images and ideals that guided the OU Daily’s innovative journey to digital.Dana Branham: When I got to The Daily, we published five days a week in print, and that was our focus. Now, we’ve dramatically changed the way we think about our work, and we’re truly a digital news operation.Seth Prince: I’d been through something similar to this at The Oregonian. It’s tough, of course, but it’s doable. The particularly heartening part, I’d say, is that it’s an easier process in more nimble newsrooms like those we commonly have in college media, where students are already more digitally inclined and less rooted
Since the news about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predations, allegations have surfaced against other powerful men. We look back at the early days in the fight against sexual harassment with the woman who coined the term. Plus: journalist Matt Taibbi examines the life, death and legacy of Eric Garner; and the release of new JFK files brings the mother of all conspiracy theories back into the spotlight.
For the month of August we’ll be running a series of interviews Bob has done over the years with documentary filmmakers. In the OTM office, the producers have been referring to the collection as “Bob’s Docs.” Over the next few weeks we’ll go through some tropes of documentary film-making, from prurience to access to the personal journey. Episode one is about the deadly sin of manipulation.
Documentaries are supposed to represent the truth. But who decides what the truth is exactly? Patricia Aufderheide, professor and documentarian, who looked into some suspicious instances of manipulation in wildlife docs, explained her effort to interview documentary film-makers anonymously about their ethical lapses.
This episode also features an interview about the timeline manipulating HBO series, "The Jinx," directed by Andrew Jarecki. Bob spoke with documentary film-maker Joe Berlinger, co-creator of the "Paradise Lost" trilogy, about modern film-making, the responsibility of the artist, and different interpretations of "truth."
Bullseye host Jesse Thorn has just launched a new podcast called The Turnaround. It’s a series of longform interviews with interviewers about interviewing, with people ranging from Ira Glass to Larry King to Marc Maron and this week, with Brooke. Jesse really wanted to get into how On The Media is made, and why it sounds the way it does.
In our upcoming episode we’ll examine how science fiction has taken on the challenge of imagining life after global warming. There’s drought, flood, grievous loss and even some optimism. So with that in mind, we thought we’d whet your appetite for annihilation by replaying this interview Brooke did with author Ben Winters a few years back. In his trilogy “The Last Policeman” it isn’t the slow creep of melting glaciers and devastating drought that heralds the end of the world, it’s an asteroid.
All the action takes place in the 6 final months before the the date of impact which spurs responses ranging from frolicking on beaches to suicide to murder. But the central character in Winter’s trilogy is a policeman who just wants to do his job.